The Fallacy of Being Strong (Part II)
In March 2014, I wrote a blog discussing the same topic (click on blog and it will take you to it). Here we are over three years later and I am being summoned to write about it again and also share some excerpts from the original blog. Yesterday, I heard the Spirit speak the word “Fallacy of Being Strong” after seeing a couple of clients.
The Spirit woke me at 4:14 this morning with the plight of my sistahs on my heart and mind. He led me to an article about drifting from my “Why”. Then He spoke again about “Fallacy of Being Strong” and I had to do a Google search on “fallacy Lacrecia Dangerfield” to find the blog.
Fallacy is defined as “a mistaken belief, especially one based on unsound argument.”
I cannot ask for help because someone will think that I am weak. I cannot shed tears because crying is a sign of weakness. If I let you know that I am asking the question of why, is my faith not strong enough. What has perpetuated this fallacy? Who continues to feed these lies?
As a counselor, you would think that I would not buy into this fallacy. I have found myself believing these lies along with some of my other colleagues. How many times have we put our own well being to the side because we did not want someone to say, you are not strong enough? Or that if I tell someone that I am not 100% myself, they will think that I am weak or not a good enough therapist. Counselors are not the only profession that falls for this fallacy.
As a Black Woman, Leader, Professional, and most definitely as a Christian, I have fallen prey to the fallacy over and over again. Later in this blog, I will share some lessons that I have learned that have helped to liberate me. First, I need to be vulnerable and share with you some events that got me to this point.
The past three weeks have been a challenge for some strong women in my family, we got news that one of my aunts is facing a major health battle which we know God is Sovereign and Faithful. My aunt has bought into the “Fallacy of Being Strong”, she will not tell us how she is really feeling because she does not want us to worry. Her words, “I’m okay.”
One of my cousins/prayer partners was hospitalized because she has bought into the “Fallacy of Being Strong” fighting for her life and strength. She was carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders before she tapped out.
Let me be totally transparent, a little over a month ago, I had a colonoscopy (preventative screening) on a Tuesday. On the following Saturday, I found myself almost passing out (my sister and cousin caught me before hitting the floor) and having to call 911 for a trip to the ER because I was passing blood. If you would ask my sister about this experience, she would tell you “She played into the Fallacy of Being Strong during the whole almost passing out situation trying to control what was happening.” Mind you, I was trying to control the outcome of the situation by playing strong all day when I initially started experiencing symptoms. All ended well – I had been doing too much (lifting and moving a printer) and not thinking about what was going on inside of my body and being dehydrated.
In my work as a coach and counselor, I witness so many therapists and women talk about how they have to keep it moving and not let anyone see them sweat or look like they can’t handle it.
Where did this belief come from? Why can’t we ask for help or show that we are not Super Woman ? For me, it was modeled in my family of origin (some pretty strong women) and the societal messages that I have chosen to believe.
Lessons I have learned:
- Asking for help is not a weakness being vulnerable is seen as sexy. I was coaching a client that was feeling overwhelmed because she was carrying a lot of responsibility. She has siblings that need to help carry some of the load. I helped her to reframe her ask by using the phrase “I need” especially for her male siblings. It is a man’s nature to respond to the words “I need you…..”.
- Give yourself permission to be human because Super Woman is fictional. We are all humans and not super humans. Jesus ministered to the human dimension of himself by taking time away for rest , prayer and meditation. I have learned that when I am vulnerable and show that I am human people stop expecting me to be super human.
- If you keep saying “I’m fine” or “I am ok” people will believe you and not realize that you are tapping out until you hit the ground. The lesson here is others expect that you should be tapping out and that is why they are asking you how you are doing waiting for you to say something before you hit the ground.
Let’s look at the definition again
Fallacy – “a mistaken belief, especially one based on unsound argument.”
How do we tear down this mistaken belief and live from a place of being feminine and human?